Garden Grove Korean x 2: Jong Ro + GamjaTang House (Los Angeles, Dec 2021)


This is an account of our last restaurant meal in Los Angeles in December but it’s not my last meal report from the trip. That will come next weekend—a write-up of dinner at Sushi Takeda. This meal comprised Korean food picked up from two different restaurants in the Korean enclave of Garden Grove (where we went earlier for an excellent dinner at Mo Ran Gak). There were a number of things we wanted to eat: sullungtang (beef bone soup_, soondae (blood sausage), gamjatang (potato and pork neck stew) and also yeomsotang (black goat stew). Specialization being all, we decided to get the first two from Jong Ro and the latter two from GamjaTang House—both located on/off Garden Grove Boulevard. A short drive back to Seal Beach and we ate it all on my mother-in-law’s patio in the midst of late-December Southern California rain. 10/10, would do it again. Herewith, the details.

Both restaurants are small—GamjaTang House smaller than Jong Ro—but entering both it’s easy to forget that you’re not in Koreatown, with much the same clientele and vibe in both places. And I am happy to report that the food didn’t disappoint either. Our order was as described above, nothing more, nothing less. Well, of course, both places also added some banchan—GamjaTang’s selection and presentation a little more expansive than Jong Ro’s.

The food was all very good. The sullungtang was a bit overpowered by the two other heartier stews but was very good in its own right (and largely eaten by the boys). The gamjatang and the yeomsotang were both rather good. As someone who—despite all personal experience to the contrary—continues to think of goat as an Indian meat, I am always happy to eat it as prepared in the cuisines of other countries. I will say that this stew—even with the overload of perilla seeds etc.—would have been completely legible to an Indian with no experience of Korean cuisine. Ditto for gamjatang, in general—the potato and meat stew being only a hop, skip and jump from our own meat curries. Both portions were also utterly massive. Consumption of the goat meat stew, by the way, is—I was told—traditionally linked to increasing men’s virility. I don’t know if it made me more virile but it made me very happy.

The soondae from Jong Ro was also very good—and we saved some of it, and the other organ meats that came with that plate, to eat on the plane the next day.

For pictures of the restaurants, their menus and the food, launch the slideshow below. Scroll down to see what’s coming next on the food front.

Price? I’m afraid in the hurly-burly of getting home and setting up the takeout I lost track of the receipts but you should be able to work it out from the menus. Not cheap—especially the stews from GamjaTang House—but very reasonable for what it is.

Okay, coming next weekend, as I said, is my last report from this Los Angeles trip. Before that on Tuesday I’ll have a report on the excellent takeout Thai meal we got from University Avenue in St. Paul yesterday.


 

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